The Economy of the Philippines: Elites, Inequalities and Economic Restructuring

By Peter Krinks | Go to book overview


6

Growth and problems in the services sector

Introduction

The tertiary and quaternary services sector has been the arena of globalization par excellence. Services now account for nearly a quarter of the value of world trade (Avila 1998:1). Around the world, international investment has always been prominent in finance, insurance and transport but in recent decades it has also involved information technology, the mass media of communications, advertising, the real estate industry and some community services. The colonial past of the Philippines meant that a number of foreign firms were well entrenched in finance and insurance by the time of independence, but thereafter economic nationalism imposed barriers to protect the sector for citizens (Arroyo 1984). Some of those barriers began to fall with deregulation and trade liberalization under President Ramos, and the unilateral reductions in several industries were greater than Philippine commitments to the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services of 1995 (Avila 1998). (This is meant to complement liberalization of merchandise trade, with priority for financial services, tourism, telecommunications and air and maritime transport.) Other factors in increasing foreign presence have been the sheer scale of the investments required and the impossibility of a small country being able to keep up with technical change with its own resources.

The services sector has been contributing an increasing share of Philippines national income, as is usual in the course of economic development. It has also been the major centre of accumulation, particularly through the financial services industry, real estate and the industries involved in information technology. All major domestic capitals are represented in the sector. As it has expanded, avenues have opened for more participants, some of whom have been so successful that they have entered the ranks of the economic élite. Expansion and deregulation have also presented opportunities for foreign capitals large and small, from advanced capitalist countries and newly industrializing ones. Increasing participation by foreign capital is one of the yardsticks set by the government to indicate the success of its plans for economic growth through deregulation and enhanced competition. Various nationalist voices have decried that approach, and some of their concerns began to be echoed by less committed observers as ripples of the East Asian crisis spread.

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The Economy of the Philippines: Elites, Inequalities and Economic Restructuring
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Figures viii
  • Tables ix
  • Maps x
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • 1 - Understanding Uneven Development in the Philippines 1
  • 2 - The Emergence of the Space Economy 14
  • 3 - Dispar Ities in Development at the End of the Twentieth Century 54
  • 4 - The Impact of Restructuring in the Primary Sector 98
  • 5 - Restructuring in the Industrial Sector 143
  • 6 - Growth and Problems in the Services Sector 188
  • 7 - The Struggle Against Uneven Development 220
  • Appendix I - Presidents of the Philippines 230
  • Appendix II - Official Exchange Rate of Philippine Peso Against Us$1.00 231
  • Notes 232
  • Bibliography 240
  • Index 259
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